Object Title:



early 21st Century


Marie McDonald




Broussonettia papyrifera (wauke), 'Aiakanënë (Coprosma erniodeoides), 'Alaea (Bixa orellana), 'Alaea (water soluble colloidal ocherous earth), Hähä (Delissea rhytidosperma), Kukui (Aleurites molucanna), 'Ölena (Curcuma longa), Pöpolo (Solanum nigrum) Technique: Beaten fiber including water mark, hand application of pigments including use of ‘ohe kapala (bamboo stamp)


80 x 287 cm (31 1/2 x 113 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Na Hoala Kapa (Happy Tamanaha, Moana Eisele, Alyse Ikeoka, Jan Yoneda, Pam Barton, Pam Lipscomb, and Ann Asakura), 2009

Object Number:



Hawai'i Arts Alliance 2010 Alfred Preis Honoree, Marie McDonald, is one of Hawai'i's most respected kupuna in the arts of lei and kapa-making. Her contemporary kapa are the result of years of research, honoring a meaningful, yet often unsung, artform. The master kapa maker spent most of her childhood on Moloka'i and is descended from families of two great cultural traditions: on her mother’s side, the Mahoe line of Hawaiian chiefs; on her father’s side, the distinguished Adams family of New England. After earning her degree in art from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, she returned to Hawai'i where for years she worked for the City and County of Honolulu for 23 years, then began another career as an art teacher in public schools. In 1990, she was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship as a Hawaiian lei maker. Her 1985 book Ka Lei: The Leis of Hawai'i is the authoritative source on the subject. Another masterpiece is Na Lei Makamae, which she co-authored with Paul Weissich, director emeritus of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens. Besides being an artist, author and teacher, McDonald is also a lecturer, researcher, farmer, businesswoman and practitioner.